But who was his barber?

March 22nd, 2010

When going to a new barber, or embarking upon a new hairstyle, one oft-invoked option is to bring with oneself a photo of a model or celebrity displaying the desired hairstyle. Of course, this works poorly if the model in question has very different hair, or a differently shaped head, etc. So there's a certain value in finding a frequently photographed individual whose hair is very like one's own.

Sadly, I do not share the hairline of Brad Pitt. In fact, I can't think of any celebrities (off the top of my head, ha!) with hair quite similar to mine. But I just realized today, while perusing totally unrelated matters, that there is a very famous person with hair remarkably similar to mine. We don't share much other physical resemblance, but that hair? That's me.

Well, damn. I wonder how I'd look in a really big hat?

Reviews: The Ghost Writer, Alice in Wonderland

March 16th, 2010

The Ghost Writer - 7/10

Roman Polanski's previous film, The Ninth Gate, is one of my favorite films. I like Polanski's film direction a great deal - it doesn't hit you over the head with gimmickry or flash, it's just quietly effective, too dramatic to be understated but never overwhelming. Like a good author's prose, you only realize after the story is finished how good the writing was.

The Ghost Writer is a good film. But, probably by the very nature of the story it tells, it's not a terribly memorable one. The performances are excellent, the story interesting, and New England by the seaside is a cold and bleak place in winter. I enjoyed watching the events unfold. But as I walked by Embarcadero Cinema on my way to work a week later, my reaction to the movie poster was "Oh right, I saw that."

The film's coda, I have to add, is crap. But other than that, a fine film, but not an exceptional one.

Alice in Wonderland - 8/10

Tim Burton, on the other hand, is a director about as far from "understated" as it is possible to be. Bringing together his hallucinogenic style with the abiding strangeness of Alice in Wonderland is a natural combination, and it works quite well. The movie is a visual feast, from the oddly distorted yet utterly credible Knave and Queen of Hearts to the smoke of the Cheshire Cat's disappearance.

The story is nothing to write home about, although it does decent service to the theme of the reluctant hero. This is not a straight translation of Alice in Wonderland by any stretch; it draws heavily on The Hunting of the Snark and makes up other plot threads from whole cloth, e.g. the treatment of the Mad Hatter. But if not a great story it's certainly good enough, and coupled with the visuals the movie is a real treat.

Also, Anne Hathaway is awesome.

Lifted from Slashdot

March 10th, 2010

@F3rm4t "I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, but Twitter 140 chars lolol"

Water Consumption in Edmonton During the Olympic Hockey Final

March 9th, 2010

Gun thoughts

March 8th, 2010

I was reminded a moment ago of the video game Syndicate, about which I have fond memories. As a the rising star of a ruthless corporation in a cyberpunk future - back when cyberpunk was a genre with impetus - you orchestrated the kidnapping of random citizens, who you then brainwashed, fitted with massive amounts of cybernetics (to the point of replacing multiple limbs and organs), and sent out decked in trenchcoats and Matrix levels of firepower to liquidate whatever obstacles the game placed in your way.

So yes, rather amoral, yet I cannot but remember Agents Nixon, Reagan, Carter and Bush (the player was able to choose the code names of their agents) strolling down the street in their trenchcoats, igniting tenements and police cars with ludicrous volumes of minigun fire, with a fond sigh and rosy glasses.

Anyhow, that got me thinking of the amusingly ironic naming of the 'minigun'. You'd think, based purely on the name, that a minigun was some sort of modern-era derringer, a hold-out pistol you produced by surprise. (For additional surprise, give it the firepower of the Noisy Cricket). A real minigun, of course, is quite the opposite - miniguns are mounted on helicopters and fire 4,000 rounds per minute from spinning barrels, a rate of fire so fast it sounds more like the Devil's flatulence than a machine gun.

So what, then, is the maxigun? Google turns up nothing in terms of military hardware, sadly, which forces one to rely on imagination. I'm picturing a battleship turret, only with rotating barrels firing 4,000 rounds per minute. Which, frankly, would be a fine weapon if you needed to bombard a city the way a meteor bombards a sand castle. Or if you wanted to carve your name into the moon.

At any rate, it's something I expect my tax dollars to go towards, if they aren't already.